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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

REMEMBERING VICTIMS OF WAR

As it appears that my posts about the "Four Agreements" may have bored some of you (seeing as how no one has made a comment), I will move on and try something a little more topical. Since yesterday was Memorial Day, why don't I start there?

There were many articles and stories all over newspapers and television about Memorial Day ceremonies across the country to honor those that have served in the military and put themselves in harm's way to protect, what they believed to be, our freedom. There is no doubt that the men and women who wear the U.S. military uniform often make the greatest of sacrifices including their own precious lives and I honor their commitment to their ideals and willingness to give up so much so that our citizens may have more.

But what about the soldiers who served in opposition to our own during times of armed conflict? What about the nameless and faceless civilians who are caught in the crossfires of war? When and how can we honor them? Should we?

Well, some veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars have come together to push for a national day of remembrance to remember ALL those who have died in armed conflict. These veterans attended several Memorial Day ceremonies in and around NYC over the weekend and held signs that read: "Veterans Remember Our Fallen Soldiers; Soldiers of the Other Side; and Innocent Civilians." The hope is that by acknowledging civilian deaths during war people will unify in their opposition to all war and push for a U.S. foreign policy that commits more aggressively to using diplomacy in matters of conflict around the globe.

In the words of Howard Zinn, "No war is a just war," in so much as war results in the death of countless innocent civilians and destroys infrastructures and lives for decades after the gunfire has ended. And let's face it, war is most often not about the citizens of any particular country - it's about the clash between two governments in which the citizens are left to fight and pick up the pieces.

While it is important to insure that no soldier is forgotten for his/her sacrifice - it is just as important to remember those who did not choose to be put in harm's way and as a result died because of an armed conflict. ALL HUMAN LIFE IS VALUABLE - uniformed or otherwise.

So what do you think? Should there be an official day of remembrance for ALL victims of war? Is it feasible? And if so, should it be held to coincide with our current Memorial Day or be celebrated separately?

Let me leave you with my new email quote as my hope for the future: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword." --Ulyesses S. Grant

5 Comments:

At 5/30/2006 05:46:00 PM, Blogger cherylann said...

isn't that what veteran's day is about? i mean... it's sort of up to the person to say a thanks for all soldiers who fought whether it was for our country or another. i don't think we need a holiday about it.. just that more tolerance and respect of people happen. i don't know if that makes much sense bc i'm tired (what else is new?). but i thank all soldiers who had to stand for their country.. mine or others. it's an admirable thing... to put your life on the line for people you don't even know. oh, and i was waiting for the other 3 stages... or whatever. i'm interested dammit. write more about them. thanks. i heart nilda.

 
At 5/30/2006 06:10:00 PM, Blogger Linus said...

What about civilians? I guess that's the biggest question for me. I think anyone who knows me knows that I would most certainly support national recognition for civilians killed in war. Are they not as important because there was no intent or voluntary action on their part to risk their lives?

And I will write about the other three agreements just for you, Cheryl :)

 
At 5/31/2006 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Brian C said...

i agree with Cheryl, it's up to the individual to decide how he or she will recognize innocent deaths resulting from war.
Sure you could try to establish another day, (though I think Veterans Day and Memorial Day ought to cover it) and call it 'Civilians of War Day' and, in time it would be known as 'Civy Day' and who knows where it fall on the calendar....but it would also just be another long weekend for most. I doubt that very many people took the time on Monday to recognize why they didn't have to work or why the banks weren't open... providing another 4 day work-week won't change these people......and why stop at innocents lost to War, if I was to get behind this cause, I'd go one more and recognize the senseless deaths of all at the hand of another human.
My short answer would simply be, 'No, we shouldn't and no it wouldn't be feasible' I'd also ask, what would you hope to accomplish? awareness? maybe - but what would that do?
The loss of lives and injuries that leave soldiers and civilians wishing for death is the price world leaders are willing to pay. War is horrific but it isn't, by any means, the only cause of death. I'm not sure of the statistics but I'm thinking that civilians are killing each other in this country more so than the soldiers in this war.
....just kinda rambling...and I was delighted to read your post on Ruiz :)

 
At 6/01/2006 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Linus said...

Some good points, Brian. In answer to your question, why? Yes I'm thinking awareness, along with simple recognition. For me war just isn't about honoring the sacrifices of those who wear a uniform. It would be a way to honor those who didn't sign up. And although I know Memorial Day is lost on many there are still those who take that moment to pause and remember. I think all victims of war deserve that respect.
Although I agree that the loss of limbs and thousands of deaths are prices world leaders are willing to pay to accomplish their agendas, I don't believe that that means war is a legitimate option in 99% of cases. Call me naieve, call me an idealist - But I believe that war doesn't have to happen. I believe that diplomatic channels should be pursued at all costs because war is not an acceptable answer. And I don't think that the U.S. in particular pursues diplomacy as much as it should. I mean, say what you will about the mental state of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the Bush Administration's answer is to posture like a rough and tumble cowboy and make sure that everybody knows that military options are most definitely on the table with regard to dealing with the situation. Are you kidding me? We couldn't do much if we wanted to. Our military is practically stretched to its limit in Afghanistan and Iraq. And because of that I just look at such rhetoric as arrogance by the U.S. in saying "We're the most powerful military machine in the world. It doesn't matter what else we're doing. We can still hurt you. So do what we say or else."
But maybe that's just me.
I agree with you that murder is senseless and it's not the statistics that drew me to this idea. It's twofold really. One is that I can't pick up every cause and so I have to draw the line somewhere. War happens to strike a core with me and especially right now as Iraq continues to be a hotbed for violence. Two, I'm not sure that we could ever stop human on human violence, as in murders by spouses, strangers, etc., but I do believe that maybe war can be avoided - if not in all cases, then in most. And for this I'm willing to give it a try.
Thank you for commenting! I love this! People tell me they are reading, but why they aren't bold enough to express a thought or two, I don't know.
So keep it up!

 
At 6/02/2006 06:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A challenge? Eh, Nancy?

Well, in the words of Elaine Bennis, "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" (I believe she was quoting a song). See, it all comes back to Seinfeld. Not to make light of a serious issue.

Anyway, you have heart and it is wonderful to have people who think of the countless lives that lost. But a holiday is not the answer. Corporate America would only find a way to capitalize on it and soon people would be waving their 'Remember the Civilians'flag. Maybe to some that would be a good thing, but the way holidays are played out in this country makes me want to vomit. Most people probably would just say, hey, another day off, yeah! (Though I do firmly believe in a 4 day work week.)

So, what we have to hope for is that there are more and more people thinking like ourselves and that change will occur. Not to be pessimistic, but there will always be war on many, many levels. It is a sad fact, but one that I think is true.

I applaud your idealism and know that there are others thinking of the "forgotten".

We can all imagine. . .

 

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